In my previous blog, I explained the difference between goals and strategies and told you why they are meant to be together, like peanut butter and jelly. Just in case you need a quick refresher, goals are the what; that big target that you want to hit. Strategies are the how; the map you use to make it from the point you’re at right now to the finish line of your goal.
In this blog post, we’re going to go one more layer down and talk about action steps. A strategy is simply a course you choose to take to achieve your goals. To complete the course, you have to take specific steps that propel you forward. These are your action steps.
Let’s use an example to illustrate how goals, strategies and action steps all relate to one another. Let’s say that in one year you want to achieve your dream of writing a historical fiction novel that takes place during the Great Depression. This is a big goal, and you’ll need a comprehensive plan to help keep you on track to achieve it. Strategies are abundant, and it’s up to you to develop the map that will work best for you. Here are some strategies that you might choose to include to get you to your goal:
- Research the Great Depression
- Set up a writing space
- Create a writing schedule
- Join a writer’s critique group
- Write one chapter a week
These are all strategic points that will move you forward toward your goal, but they won’t happen by themselves. You have to assess each strategy and create specific action steps to make it happen. Let’s look at your first strategy: “Research the Great Depression”. What action steps do you need to do to make this happen? Here’s a few that I can think of:
- Schedule two afternoons a week to spend in the library reading about the Great Depression
- Reach out to friends or contacts to see if any of their family members lived through the Great Depression and would be willing to speak to you
- Purchase a recorder to record interviews
- Make a list of experts on the Great Depression and request interviews
- Develop a system for taking and organizing notes for easy retrieval
Developing action steps helps make large goals more achievable and gives you a clear path toward success. The idea of writing a whole novel may seem insurmountable on its own, but buying a recorder, requesting an interview and doing research at the library are all simple and achievable action steps. Little by little you’ll cross action steps off your list until one day you’ll type The End on the last page of your completed novel.
Feeling brave? In the comments section write down a goal, a strategy and three action steps to support your strategy. If you need help defining and implementing the goals, strategies and actions steps that will propel your business to the next level, consider professional coaching sessions with me.